Would you be surprised to hear that instead of focusing on what we’re doing and where we’re headed… 80% of our workplace conversations rehash what’s already happened (what worked, what didn’t and why). It’s true! And it keeps a lot of organizations from moving forward.
Here’s a quick way to help your teams catch themselves when they’re mired in the past.
1) In the next team meeting, ask someone on the team to keep track of the number of times they hear statements that fall into the realm of the “past” versus those that fall into the realm of the “future.”
Signs a Discussion is bogged down in the “Past”
You hear a lot of opinions (“If you ask me, the problem is that we’ve over-produced. Installation can’t keep up with sales.”)
You hear assessments (“Last time we tried that we lost money.”)
Your hear interpretations (“I’ve been saying for months now that the marketing team is under-staffed.”)
You hear analyses (“Maybe we should revisit the recommendations the research firm gave us last year–we might have missed something.”)
You hear judgments (“If we change our policy now, we’ll lose our old customers.”)
Statements that reveal a discussion is more “Future-Based”
“I think it’s possible to…”
“We can do….”
“This team is capable of….”
If anything were possible, what would this place look like in a year?
Seems to me, there’s got to be away to decrease this process by half…
Something like this would certainly make things easier for customers and I can see how it might be possible.
2) Bring the findings to the group’s attention and attempt to gain agreement around the concept of moving discussions from the past into the future. The best way to break out of business as usual is by first envisioning the possibilities the future can hold.
3) After the team identifies and agrees to pursue a future-based idea, explain that they are now ready to move into the “Present.” This is where requests are issued (such as what needs to be done, by when and by whom) and employee commitments are made.
Excerpted from the Leader’s Guide to The Power of Future Conversation training program.
Recommended Training Resource: The Power of Future Conversation. Your teams can use the principles in this program to immediately refocus their communication in a way that will help them, and your organization, achieve positive change and growth. It’s all about getting out of the past, focusing on the future and acting in the present. This program shows how to reframe day-to-day conversations so that breakthroughs can occur.